The World Tarot Card Meaning
Keywords: Triumph – Completion – Wholeness
A woman floats inside of an oval laurel wreath. She wears a purple sash. She carries wands (representing power and mastery) in both hands. The four guardians in each corner of the card represent figures from astrology and Christian mysticism. They symbolize the four fixed signs of the zodiac: Aquarius, Leo, Scorpio, and Taurus. In Christian art, the four figures are known as a tetramorph. They represent the four divine laws and four Evangelists (Matthew as the angelic figure, Mark as the lion, Luke as the ox/bull, and John as the eagle). This card visually mirrors the Wheel of Fortune.
The World is the twenty-first card of the tarot’s Major Arcana. It’s a card of powerful significance as it marks the end of the numerical progression of the Major Arcana. It’s a card of fulfillment, joy, completion, and success.
Upright Meanings for the World Tarot Card
The World card represents triumph. Everything has come together and you’re now achieving success. This represents a moment to acknowledge the hard work that got you where you are now. Along with this achievement is a sense of deep satisfaction. It heralds a period of joyous and happy times. Like the Sun, its strong, positive energy makes it one of the most auspicious cards to have in your reading.
The World also represents the completion or end of a cycle. In the tarot’s Major Arcana, the cards are numbered 1 through 21 with the Fool at zero representing both being outside of the numerical sequence and at the very beginning. And so, the World marks the final chapter of this journey before a new one inevitably begins again. Right now you can rest in having achieved closure and the lessons you needed from this phase of your life.
The World can represent spiritual and emotional wholeness. You now feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. This self-assuredness is well deserved. This energy can extend to your physical body as well. You may be in a mindset of peace, love, and healing. It’s a card that suggests joyous movement, dancing, and healing.
In material life, the World can speak to success and fulfillment. It can suggest a public recognition of your achievements via celebration or an award.
In a practical sense, the World can suggest pushing yourself to explore the world with confidence —especially if you have issues stepping out of your comfort zone. It can hint at adventures found traveling or overseas.
Love and Relationships
The World is a wonderful card to appear in a relationship reading. It symbolizes partnerships that are fulfilling and loving. It’s a little cliché, but it can represent a partner who you feel completes you. In established relationships, it’s a beautiful confirmation that this is a strong, satisfying relationship.
This card can appear in nonromantic readings to represent a strong tie to family. This also applies to families of our own creation such as the one we make with our spouse and potential children (furbabies or a huge plant collection counts too!). It can extend to having cultivated deeply close friendships amongst like-minded individuals.
The World card can appear in a reading regarding new love indicating that the search is over. It suggests a recent partnership that is incredibly fulfilling and worth pursuing seriously.
Sometimes it represents emotional closure over not having the desire for a relationship. This would represent true contentment with the solo life you’re living. For example, it could be a recently divorced woman who is ready to explore the world and under no rush of getting back into the dating scene. Think a Georgia O’Keefe in the desert kind of adventure.
Career and Work
The World is an incredibly auspicious card to appear in a work-related reading. It is a card of triumph, celebration, and milestones. In your career, the World indicates that your hard work has paid off. You may find yourself receiving professional acknowledgment for expertise in your field. Most importantly, it will bring a sense of deep fulfillment and personal satisfaction for a job well done.
For potential workplaces or jobs, this is a great indicator card for fulfilling work. Although typically you’ll find this card shows up more for milestones reached in the workplace, such as promotions, retirement, and awards. It can also refer to the successful completion of big projects.
When representing potential work or careers, the World favors jobs that are overseas or global organizations (both for-profit and nonprofit). It can also represent work that isn’t tied to a specific location such as freelancing or remote working. This card can be a call to become an expert in your chosen field.
People and Personalities
Individuals represented by the World card appear wise and scholarly. They’re down to earth and don’t let much bother them. This is a person who has achieved a lot in their life, not for the sake of ego or to impress, but for the satisfaction of a job well done. It can also represent well-traveled individuals whose journeys away from home have given them a wider perspective on life.
Astrologically speaking, the World card corresponds to Saturn and Earth. In a reading it could represent one of the zodiac’s earth signs (Capricorn, Taurus, or Virgo) or the two signs traditionally ruled by Saturn —Capricorn and Aquarius.
The World Reversed Tarot Card Meaning
Reversed Keywords: Incomplete – Delay – Constriction
Reversed Meanings for the World Tarot Card
The World card reversed still holds the potential for the positive energy associated with the card. And because of this, that’s often why its reversed energy is so frustrating.
You are on the cusp of success and triumph, but something is blocking you. This blockage can seem to come from outside influences getting in your way. And yes, sometimes it represents only a time delay before a milestone can be achieved. But, more often than not, there’s an internal component to the lack of progress. To receive acknowledgment or closure can be scary. After all the work and effort, what happens when everything is done? Are you worried about what comes next? Examine whether fears around success and expectations are at play here.
Sometimes we have ambivalent or contradictory emotions on whether we really want closure and to move on. For instance, a parent may have planned for years what they’ll do once the kids grow up to leave the house. But now the parent finds that they are having a hard time letting go of the reins in their adult child’s life. Or after a breakup, you keep finding unnecessary reasons to contact your ex. Look at whether there’s resistance due to fear of what the new status quo will be. The World urges you to remember how brave and competent you are. You are ready to move on to the next chapter of your life.
The World reversed can also suggest constriction in your life or mindset. Ask yourself whether you are looking at the big picture? This can be a call to seek another perspective. It speaks to finding yourself in such a tight bubble or narrow perspective that we don’t see the true 360° of a situation. A general lack of awareness can be at play here too. As they say: you don’t know what you don’t know. But the solution is to immerse yourself in other perspectives to give yourself broader knowledge to draw from.
Like its upright meaning, the World reversed can encourage you to look to cultures and ideas foreign to your own for solutions.
Reversed Love and Relationships
As mentioned in the upright section, the World reversed is often tied to resisting closure in a relationship. It can manifest as perpetual texting with your ex after you’ve broken up. Or in a reading on family issues, it can represent being too involved in family drama when you should be focused on your own self-care and growth. In these situations, stronger boundaries are needed for you to move forward. Do not allow others to pry you away from success when you’re so close to achieving what you want.
Keep in mind, the World’s positive energy is hard to quell, even when reversed. Sometimes it appears in a reading representing the waiting period before the papers go through for a much-wanted divorce. It can be a period of excitement between engagement and marriage.
For readings regarding new connections, it does indicate success around the corner —but with the understanding that you still have unfinished business that needs to be resolved.
Reversed Career and Work
The World reversed in a career reading points to disappointment from delayed milestones. It still indicates that completion and recognition are around the corner. But it can suggest that you’ve been blocked from ending a cycle in your career. For example, this can be a time where you are waiting for the economy to improve before leaving a job you hate. Or you may have decided to support a family member financially and now need to delay retirement. This is a tricky situation because many of these reasons are completely valid. But sometimes we trap ourselves with these excuses out of fear. Maybe we’re afraid we won’t have it any better at a new job. Many we’re afraid of disappointing the person who we’re supporting. If these things are done to the detriment of our health, it’s not worth it.
When the World card appears reversed in work related readings, we know success is within our reach. But what is really holding you back from grabbing it?
Reversed People and Personalities
The World reversed can suggest a person who has been sheltered in their views of the world. Luckily, this can be remedied by going out and experiencing the world. Engage with others who have a different perspective than you.
Numerology: 21 and 3 (see Empress card)
I am whole and complete
Some of My Favorite Examples
The Everyday Witch Tarot shows a woman living the dream at a beach house on the water. Rather than the esoteric symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, this depiction shows us the joy of the World card with a practical, real word example. Her witch’s hat is blown away in the wind. Or maybe she tossed it off herself? Either way, she seems to be happy letting it go. We could assume she’s taking a break from duties as the village witch to enjoy a vacation. The manifestation of the World card can feel like a beautiful vacation full of possibilities and exploration.
The Pagan Otherworlds Tarot is one of my favorites by the talented Uusi team. Although it’s a modern tarot deck, the imagery feels timeless. The figure evokes the Greek goddess of victory Nike (yes, the sports apparel brand is named after her). She stands on the world, having already conquered it, and looks upwards to presumably more achievements and adventure. We see in her hand the familiar motif of the Magician’s wand, a symbol of competence and mastery.
The Wild Unknown’s World card is one of my favorites in this indie tarot deck. Maybe that’s true for the creator too since it was chosen as the cover art for the deck. The simplified image incorporates a full spectrum of hues creating a never-ending color wheel. The woven texture of the inner circle evokes the garland wreath of the Waite-Smith tarot. It could also be read as a snakeskin, and thus a symbol of transformation via the shedding of skin.
I love the visual contrast of the Moonchild’s World card. The figure is a shadow against a wall of stars and galaxies. In the Hero’s Journey, the stories protagonist usually retrieves an object from their journey. Perhaps this figure has found her own world on her journey? Or maybe the glowing sphere in her hands is a magical, personal moon. The galaxies ahead of her represent infinite possibilities for where to go next.
The Wooden Tarot’s World Card reminds me of the Norse myth of Yggdrasil the World Tree. The World Tree motif is used in some forms of shamanism as a location to be traversed during a spiritual journey. The tree’s roots represent the underworld, which holds powerful knowledge and secrets. In esoteric symbolism, the World Tree is an apt metaphor for the integration of knowledge attained during a spiritual journey. These lessons are never lost. They are carried on to the next chapter of your journey.